When General Manager Rick Dudley addressed the media after the February 28th trade deadline, newcomer forwards Robbie Schremp, Radek Dvorak and defensemen Brett Festerling were welcomed to the organization. Forwards Niclas Bergfors, Fredrik Modin and minor league players Drew Mcyntyre and Patrick Rissmiller said their goodbyes prior to departing for their new employers.
Just shy of two weeks later, the dust has settled and if you look at the Atlanta Thrashers roster, question marks continue to appear next to several names. Most noticeably forward Nik Antropov, one player that didn’t change street addresses prior to the deadline, certainly not for the lack of trying from a managerial standpoint.
If you take at look at the payroll of the Atlanta Thrasher players, the 2nd highest paid player in 2010-11 with an annual cap hit of $4,062,500 is the Ust-Kamenog, Kazakhstan native. Originally signed as an Unrestricted free agent in 2009, Antropov has two more years remaining on his contract paying him 8.125 million total for the two years left with an annual hit to the cap of $4,062,500.
What have you done for me lately?
Well, in the overall picture, Antropov found the back of the net 24 times in 76 games played in the 2009-10 season and has just 12 in 63 contests this season. Antropov has recorded 100 points in 139 total games played since his arrival in 2009. The numbers may sound about right for the 6’6 245 lb center for the Thrashers, but it’s hardly enough for what the Thrashers ultimately need out of a player with a cap hit of that nature.
When former General Manager Don Waddell signed Antropov, offense was a big reason why. Other reasons certainly factor into play though.
Making former Thrasher Ilya Kovalchuk happy, was on the high priority list, signing his former teammate in Russia to a 4 year deal seemed logical at the time.
“Certainly, it’s going to help us through the process. Ilya wants to be a part of a winning organization and this is a big step in the right direction,” Waddell said back on July 3rd 2009 while addressing the media.
Kovalchuk went as far as sending Waddell a text message saying “Great Job”, after the signing was announced.
Ok, so let’s get back to the 2010-11 season. Antropov remains an Atlanta Thrasher. General Manager Rick Dudley will have a difficult time moving Antropov given the remaining terms of his contract. That much we know.
Antropov’s ability to play all three forward positions is a plus moving forward for the Thrashers though. His ability to wonder off the track is not. His two-way game with his size is a positive, but his inability to score goals on a regular basis is not.
For the duration of the two years remaining on his contract, Thrasher nation can only hope Antropov can contribute to the score sheet more often then shown. It would better suit the Thrashers, then simply being a four million dollar player, making another player happy who no longer exists in the organization.